Save the Children suspends operation in Agok, relocates staff in Abyei Administrative Area following a violent attack on 11 February between two communities over land disputes.
During the attack, gunmen stormed the town and torched homes and shops, forcing much of the local population to flee to other parts of the Abyei Area. The degree of violence and damage has led to Save the Children suspending all programs in the town including essential health, food, education and child protection programs.
Mohamed Dahir, Save the Children’s Interim Country Director in South Sudan, said“We cannot perform our essential, life-saving work in Agok if our staff and their families fear for their lives. The programs we have suspended support children battling malnutrition; provide vaccines and healthcare to babies and mothers; and provide security and protection to South Sudan’s most vulnerable children. One day of program suspension can be the difference between life and death for a child.”
“It is critical that both parties to this conflict provide unimpeded humanitarian access and assurances of safety to humanitarian staff so that we can resume our projects and prevent further suffering. We strongly urge the local authority to protect civilians, and ensure that humanitarian agencies like Save the Children can continue to deliver services to children and families.”
He added that Save the Children is operating a range of programs in Abyei Administrative area, including a health and nutrition project with support from the European Union (ECHO). The program targets population of about 76,000 people, providing free lifesaving primary healthcare services in addition to nutrition, food security and livelihoods programs. Save the Children is also working to strengthen the capacity of the local health system to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks of common a range of endemic diseases.
He revealed thatSave the Children has been working with and for children, their families and communities in South Sudan since 1991. We provide children with access to education, healthcare, and nutrition support, and families with food security and livelihoods assistance.